Does cationic surfactant gives better result than silicone in shampoo

TattvasTattvas Member
edited September 2018 in Formulating
Hi everyone..

We are tryint to batch a clear or opaque shampoo with jasmine fragrance

Purified water qs
Honey 20 percent
Peg 12 dimethicone - 1.5%
Cocamide mea -  0.6%
Alor vera water - 20%
Acrylate copolymer-6%
Phenoxyethanol +Ethyl hexyl glycerin - 0.5%

My points are these though the shampoo came fine

1.i used siliocome peg dimethicone . Could i use cationic surfactant btms or btac instead of silicone? . 

2. I used acrylate copolymer 6 %. Could i get same result with salt only provided salt have its own limitation to add? 

3. I seee lotsa shampoo in market using alcohol and salicylic acid together..what etc benefit it will gjve to shampoo? 

Pardon my chemistry!.. 


  • And i found ppl struggling with salicylic acid solubility. It can be easily dissolved in PG. But how much PG is safe to use in shampoo instead of glycerin. 
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    1. No a cationic surfactant can't be used in an anionic surfactant system.  Of course the PEG 12 Dimethicone will just wash away so it's not doing much in your formula.

    2.  Possibly but you'd have to run a salt curve analysis. You have a number of ingredients in the formula that might negatively impact the salt thickening effect.

    3. It is used to treat psorasis and dry scalp. I wouldn't recommend using it in a general shampoo.

    4. You can use as much PG in a shampoo as you like. 
  • Also the BTMS and the silicones are for different purposes. The cationics are for conditioning, and the silicones for shine. 

    You can use polyquats, those are dedigned to be compatible. And hydrophobic dimethicones, the most common are gums dispersed in cyclo, but there are so many to choose. See this, and that's from one manufacturer.
  • I got a theory that for short acting formulations, like shampoos and conditioners which are left on hair for just a few minutes (some people only leave them a few seconds), cationics are kind of attracted by hair.

    Normal silicones like dimethicone and dimethiconol aren't supposed to do much on paper, but their effect is noticeable in the real world.

    You can try Amodimethicone. Both a silicone and amine-functionalized which makes it cationic in water solution. Best of both worlds.
    You'd likely need cationic surfactants to keep amodimethicone in solution.
  • MicroformulationMicroformulation Member, Professional Chemist
    edited September 2018
    @DAS You can get conditioning, surfactant properties, lubricity, shine and even emulsification from silicones. It is a broad class of materials and it is a mistake to categorize them so narrowly. Microformulation Cosmetic Consulting provides Custom Formulations for both large Commercial accounts as well as smaller entrepreneurs. We can provide Naturally compliant Formulations under the NSF, NPA, Whole Foods and USDA Organic Certifications.
  • @perry...pardon me.. I didnt mention.. But we have PQ-10=1.5%  in formula too. 

    But if silicones are going to wash off. How we going to achieve the shiny, volume and slippery or rejuventated hair after wash and keep them like that for sometime. 

    @Gunther .. I used Polyquat10 as cationic polymer.. But if i go for amodimethicone, will that be suffice to provide conditoning and silicone effect and enough to not to use pq10? 

    @Microformulation... I read it but still it recommend amodimethicone in the end to use in 2 in 1 shampoo.. But when i searched i found
    Amodimethicone is challenge to remove in rinse off.. Why not use somewhat water soluble and which doesnt built up on hair and leave it shiny.. May be dimethicone copolyol   
  • MicroformulationMicroformulation Member, Professional Chemist
    @Tattvas The entire point was not to dismiss Amodimethicone but to show that a statement that silicones only deliver shine was incorrect. Now, if you wanted to really learn, you could read the entire article and see how varied the class is. Microformulation Cosmetic Consulting provides Custom Formulations for both large Commercial accounts as well as smaller entrepreneurs. We can provide Naturally compliant Formulations under the NSF, NPA, Whole Foods and USDA Organic Certifications.
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    @Tattvas - you have to use a silicone that is not water soluble and will plate out on the hair during use. This is how 2-in-1 shampoos work.  They use Dimethicone, not water soluble PEG 12 Dimethicone.

  • Dimethicone PEG-7 Isostearate (Silsense DW-18) definitely has a conditioning effect in my experience. I would use it more, but it's rather expensive.
    Cosmetic Brand Creation. Concept to name to IMPI search to logo and brand registration. In-house graphic design inc. Pantone specs. Cosmetic label and box design & graphics.
  • @Perry if silicone is not soluble then it won't be a clear shampoo?
    How can i get a clear shampoo without silicone?

  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    @ssdc - If you want a clear shampoo you use a cationic polymer as the conditioning agent. It won't work as well for conditioning as a silicone containing shampoo but it could be clear.  Guar Hydroxypropyltriminoum chloride for example.

  • You can Google the studies

    Determination of the Feel of Hair after Cosmetic Treatment - Sensory and Objective Test Methods

    A preliminary investigation of the interaction of a quat with silicones and its conditioning benefits on hair

    New Approaches for Assessing Conditioning and Quantifying Silicone Deposition on Hair

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